I’ve been working on a book about holy women and virtue, Love Like A Saint, and it’s been a privilege getting to know some of the remarkable women of the Church, among them Blessed Benedetta Bianchi Porro (1936-1964).
Benedetta longed to be a doctor, but after five years of medical training, she had to give up her studies when a debilitating disease robbed her, bit by bit, of her sight, hearing, and eventually all of her senses. She was paralyzed except for one hand where her mother would sign the Italian alphabet to communicate with her. An extraordinary vessel of grace, letters poured into her and visitors besieged her bedside. Having left every sense behind her, she discovered a glorious and rich interior life that she eagerly shared with strangers and friends.
In a letter she wrote to a young man who suffered similarly, she wrote:
"Because I'm deaf and blind, things have become complicated for me. . . . Nevertheless, in my Calvary, I do not lack hope. I know that at the end of the road, Jesus is waiting for me. First in my armchair, and now in my bed . . . I have found a wisdom greater than that of men—I have discovered that God exists, that He is love, faithfulness, joy, certitude. . . . My days are not easy. They are hard. But sweet because Jesus is with me, with my sufferings, and He gives me His sweetness in my loneliness and light in the darkness. He smiles at me and accepts my collaboration."
In today's Gospel when Jesus tells the Apostles to travel without money, sack, or sandals, He’s not simply inviting them into a new level of trust, but a new level of collaboration and efficacy for the Kingdom (Luke 10:4).
Is it possible, Sister, that Jesus is asking you to travel light, to loosen your grip on something you would normally cling to: health, money, status, a dream, even love? If He is, be assured, whatever you leave behind will make you a nimble and effective instrument in the Kingdom, even if that be, as it was for Benedetta, from a hospital bed.